Important Holy Cross Figures  

Blessed Father Basil Moreau

Blessed Father Basil Moreau, Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross

"Teach your students about Jesus Christ, open their intelligence to justice and truth, and their heart to all the virtues."   Father Moreau (School Prospectus)


Basil Moreau was a man with a vision. His vision of serving others was forged from the time of his birth in France in 1799 and during the years which followed the French Revolution. The needs were great and the needs were everywhere and he chose to respond. At the age of 22 he was ordained a priest for the diocese of Le Mans, France. He became a teacher at the seminary and there his vision began to unfold. He organized a group of priests and seminarians who named themselves Auxiliary Priests. They helped to rebuild a church and society devastated by years of civil war. And they reflected Father Moreau's own desire to preach and teach and become a missionary. 

In 1835, at the bishop's request, he took direction of the Brothers of Saint Joseph, founded fifteen years earlier by another priest of the diocese, Father Jacques Dujarie. The vision continued to unfold. Two years later, in 1837, the Auxiliary Priests and the Brothers of St. Joseph united to form the Association of Holy Cross, named after the small suburb of Le Mans where Father Moreau established his headquarters. When the group was officially approved by the church it came to be called, as it is today, the Congregation of Holy Cross. 

The vision was to unfold even more. In 1841, eager in his desire to respond to other needs which were emerging, Father Moreau founded the Holy Cross Sisters. Today the sisters form three distinct religious congregations: Marianites of Holy Cross, Sisters of the Holy Cross, and Sisters of Holy Cross. The vision of Holy Cross initiated by Basil Moreau included men and women, lay and ordained, together as community and family, placing themselves at the service of God's people in a variety of ways and in many lands. 

Father Moreau's vision carried the women and men of Holy Cross far beyond the borders of France and Africa and the United States in 1841, Canada in 1847, Italy in 1850, and India in 1853. Though Father Moreau resigned as the chief administrator of Holy Cross in 1866, he continued to serve others through preaching and retreats until his death on January 20, 1873. Today many men and women continue to live his vision by serving others in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. His vision continues to unfold and can be taken up with passion and enthusiasm for it involves nothing less than carrying on the mission of Jesus Christ himself. Today, Father Moreau's vision invites and urges still others to see the needs and to respond. 

Taken from the Holy Cross Brothers website 


Saint Andre Bessette, C.S.C.

Saint Andre Bessette, C.S.C.


Alfred Bessette was born in Canada on August 9, 1845. He entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1870, taking the name of Brother Andre. He was assigned to be doorkeeper at the community's high school in Montreal. There he fostered devotion to Saint Joseph among the sick and otherwise afflicted and soon became known as the "Miracle Man" of Montreal. 

With ever bigger crowds of the poor and needy gathering in front of the school. it soon brought protests from the students' parents and some community members. Bro. Andre, aware of this problem, asked in 1904 to build a small chapel on the hill beyond the school. This was the small beginning of the Oratory of St. Joseph that now stands there. 

Bro. Andre died on January 6, 1937. His burial had to be postponed for several days until the last of more than three million people were able to pass by his bier and pay him homage. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982. On October 17, 2010, Brother Andre was canonized a saint, the Holy Cross order's first recognized saint. 

For more information about Saint Andre Bessette, go to Congregation of Holy Cross' Saint Andre Bessette. 

Taken from the Holy Cross Brothers website

Education is the art of bringing young people to completeness. Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, Founder, Congregation of Holy Cross


Bishop McNamara High School
6800 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD 20747
Phone: 301.735.8401
Fax: 301.735.0934
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